Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania over the weekend.
CCM women remember anti-colonial nationalist Titi Mohamed
The women of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), known as Umoja wa Wanawake Tanzania (UWT), being one of the party’s many wings, on October 23, 2021, concluded its week-long anniversary since it is founding by organizing a rally in honour of one of Tanzania’s leading anti-colonial nationalists Bibi Titi Mohamed in the Coast region district of Rufiji, Mohamed’s birthplace.
UWT’s move to organize a rally to honour the life and activism of Bibi Titi Mohamed came as both a surprise and a relief to some. It was a surprise because few expected CCM to honour the life of a dissident who lost almost everything by simply criticizing the policy of the party and deciding to think differently from the party’s then chairperson Julius Kambarage Nyerere.
Regarded as a heroine of Tanganyika’s anti-colonial struggles, Bibi Titi Mohamed’s name disappeared to an almost anonymity after she chose to oppose the 1967 Arusha Declaration which imposed socialism and self-reliance ideology on Tanzanians. Bibi Titi criticized some of the document’s provisions, going as far as calling the process leading to its writing “not consultative.”
But it was also a relief to many gender activists, feminists and those interested in the Tanzanian history in general who have been complaining for far too long that the founder of CCM’s Women Wing was not accorded the respect she deserved, calling on both the ruling party and the government to find ways through which Biti Titi Mohamed’s name could be to the national spotlight.
“Contributions of Bibi Titi [Mohamed] in the emancipation of black people from colonial rule were great; though they are not well documented,” President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who was the guest of honour at the rally, said of the pioneer of women participation in the struggle for independence in Tanganyika whom she called her “role model.”
“Iconic Bibi Titi Mohamed stood up for what she believed in,” Samia, who doubles as CCM’s national chairperson told members of her party who had gathered for the summit. “A memorable event is when she declined to support the Arusha Declaration and resigned from all the posts she held.”
President Samia urged Tanzanian researchers and writers to write more about Bibi Titi Mohamed’s contributions in the process of decolonizing Tanganyika, which after the union of Zanzibar in 1964 became Tanzania.
According to historians Chambi Chachage and Jacqueline Mgumia, as a leader of the women’s wing of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), Bibi Titi Mohamed traveled throughout the country to mobilize both women and men to join the party that led to the independence of Tanganyika in the early 1960s. You can read Chachage’s and Mgumia’s accounts of Bibi Titi Mohamed here.
CSO Week: Speaker Ndugai warns CSOs against being used to say bad things about Tanzania
The annual Civil Society (CSO) Week event kicked off in the weekend in the capital Dodoma, with Speaker of Parliament Job Ndugai, who inaugurated the six-day exhibition and conference sessions event, urging heads of Tanzanian CSOs to say no to temptations that would lead them to say bad things about their country.
CSO Week opened on October 23 at the Jakaya Kikwete Convention Centre, and the exhibition is scheduled for October 23 and 24 at the same venue. Conference sessions will take place from October 25 to 28 at Royal Village Hotel.
“If you criticize us [the government] we will be out here listening to you,” Mr Ndugai said in the statement that stirred debates on social media platforms. “But next time when we deliver you should likewise come out and applaud us. It cannot be that your only job is to criticize on a daily basis and when asked why you respond that your task is to criticize. Then go and criticize yourself.”
Mr Ndugai seemed irritated by what he saw as the lack of appreciation of the levels of development that Tanzania has registered since its independence almost 60 years ago on the part of Tanzania’s CSOs, something that he was categorical that it needs to change.
“Is it true that there is no democracy [in Tanzania]?” Mr Ndugai, who doubles as Kongwa MP (CCM) asked rhetorically. “That there is no good governance [in Tanzania]? That there is no freedom of assembly? Who makes such statements?”
Responding to some complaints raised by CSOs earlier, including the NGO Act that is criticized for making the works of CSOs difficult in Tanzania, Mr Ndugai hinted that such laws were enacted in response to “that notion” amongst CSOs that there is neither democracy nor good governance in Tanzania.
“If lawmakers perceive you in a certain way,” Mr Ndugai pointed out rather euphemistically, “certainly, you’ll get what you deserve. So we both have to take a critical look at ourselves. We, [the government], should look at ourselves; and you, [CSOs], should do the same.
CHADEMA supporters reportedly blocked from visiting Mbowe in prison
Members and supporters of opposition party CHADEMA on Saturday complained that prison guards at the Ukonga Maximum Security Prison in Dar es Salaam blocked their visit to the party’s national chairperson Freeman Mbowe detained at the prison awaiting for his terrorism case where among other things he is accused of taking part in conspiracies to bomb petrol stations and mass gatherings.
Until the time of writing, neither the Tanzania Prison Service nor the government had denied or confirmed the claims.
According to CHADEMA, when its members and supporters arrived at the Ukonga Maximum Security Prison, prison guards told them that they were not going to allow them to visit Mr Mbowe, citing “an order from above.”
This was so despite the fact that Saturday was a visiting day. Guards would not say from whom specifically was the order coming, CHADEMA complained.
CHADEMA Secretary-General John Mnyika demanded the Tanzania Prison Service to explain why its officers prevent people from visiting their people in prison.
In the past few days, members and supporters of CHADEMA who visit Mr Mbowe in prison have also been complaining that prison guards have been turning them away when they show up at the prison premise with t-shirts carrying slogans such as New Constitution and Independent Electoral Commission.
On Saturday, October 23, 2021, Mr Mbowe reached 95 days in remand prison since he was arrested on July 21, 2020, in the lake zone region of Mwanza where he was expected to be a guest of honour during a New Constitution forum organized by CHADEMA’s Youth Wing BAVICHA.
He was brought before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court for the first time on July 26, 2021, accused of taking part in conspiracies to blow up fueling stations and other public gatherings as well as funding terrorist acts before his case was transferred to the High Court.
Others in the case No. 16/2021 are Halfan Hassan, Adam Kasekwa and Mohamed Lingwenya
Police, Interpol conduct joint crackdown in southern Africa
The Tanzanian Police Force said Saturday that drugs, firearms, minerals, stolen cars, game meat and timber were among items seized in a joint crackdown with the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) conducted simultaneously in six southern African countries.
Police spokesperson David Msime said in a statement that 53 suspects were detained in the crackdown that was conducted on Sept. 23-24, which also involved the Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization.
Msime said the crackdown was conducted in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. And seized contraband included 23 kilograms of zebra meat, three teeth of hippopotamus, 14 logs and 20 tonnes of quartz minerals.
A total of 1,230 cars were identified to have been stolen, according to Msime, adding that other seized items were 125.4 kilograms of cannabis, one pistol loaded with four rounds of ammunition and 6,312 spent bullets.
About 89 illegal immigrants from Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi and Zambia were detained during the swoop, said the statement.
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